Senate Might Vote Next Week on Obamacare Replacement

GOP Senate leaders hope to marshal a vote on their health care bill by next Thursday before the July 4 break, the Wall Street Journal reports. But many Senate Republicans have yet to see the proposed legislation and some are not happy with what they are hearing about it. All Democrats are expected to vote against the GOP proposal, so it’s crucial that at least 51 of the 52 Republicans in the Senate get in line in order for the bill to pass.

The Wall Street Journal reports that “provisions in the GOP bill that had proved vexing, including the fate of Medicaid expansion and tax credits to consumers, appear close to being resolved, people familiar with the negotiations said.”

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley complained yesterday: “There isn’t a bill yet—nobody has seen any language.” The text is expected to be available by the end of this week and an estimate of what the legislation will cost should be complied by the Congressional Budget Office by the beginning of next week, the WSJ reports.

Democrats promise to stall any vote, partly on grounds that they and consumer advocate groups have not been part of the closed-door discussions. Medicaid funding is expected be cut by even more than the $834 billion over 10 years that the House version of GOP reform included.

This might not sit well with GOP Senators from states that expanded Medicaid eligibility under the ACA. One proposal mirrors how the House bill would lower Medicaid spending until 2025, but then more steeply cuts Medicaid by tying spending to a lower price index.

The troubles that the ACA is currently experiencing—the exodus of major insurers from the state market exchanges and the hefty hikes in premiums by those who remain—could put pressure on the GOP to get something done quickly.  

“Democrats argue that Republicans are hurting the marketplaces by threatening to halt payments that are used to reduce out-of-pocket costs for lower-income patients and by raising questions about enforcement of the ACA’s coverage mandate,” the WSJ reports.

Source: Wall Street Journal